Recommend
36 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Triassic Terror» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Euro in Ameritrash Clothing rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Sandy Petersen
United States
Rockwall
Texas
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
I wrote the first-ever Lovecraft game.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Triassic Terror
Last week I got Triassic Terror in the mail. I’d supported it as a kickstarter, based on two props. First, I am a fan of Eagle Games. Second, I am a fan of dinosaurs. Let’s examine this game.

What’s in the Box?

We get a nice two-sided map (one side for 2-4 players, the other for 5-6 players), and six colors of dinomeeples, plus each player gets some special tiles and two plastic dinosaur figures, which self-evidently derive from some giant soulless plastic merchandiser. One of the figures is unique to your faction (for instance, only one faction gets the stegosaur), and the other is a tyrannosaurus rex in your color. In addition there are two velociraptors and a neutral-colored tyrannosaur. My 3 year old grand daughter had a lot of fun looking at all the bits.

We get cards and cardboard tiles, generally with excellent artwork, obviously painted by one of the many dinosaur-specialists out there. (Look up dinosaur artist on google and you will get more hits than you can shake a stick at.)

In summary, the components are great. And kudos to Eagle for putting a cut-out on the lip of the inner box, making it much easier to pull out maps & such without bending the cardboard or pinching one’s thumb. I am inspired to ask for such a cut-out on my own upcoming kickstarter. (Hope it’s not patented.)

Playing ze Game

The map has four environments (mountain, swamp, forest, desert), each subdivided into three Areas, which in turn are each subdivided into three Habitats. Each Habitat has a point value attached to it (in a 2-4 player game, the third habitat is worth no points, though).
To play, first each player picks a tile. Six are available, and if someone else has already chosen the tile you covet, you must be satisfied with second-best (or worse). Orphan tiles that no one wanted get tokens placed atop them, so they grow in value over time, just as in Vinci.

Three of your options are based on moving or growing your herds of dinosaurs, and two are based on controlling predators. The sixth is a combination – you hatch eggs, and then you move the pterosaur to prey on the helpless.

Only one tyrannosaur is ever on the board, and it is in the color of whoever chose the tyrannosaur tile most recently. I felt bad for the neutral tyrannosaur figure – it is only a placeholder until someone chooses to take it over, and then it never gets used again. Seemed kind of useless. On the other hand, an ”extra” tyrannosaur is always a plus.

All three of the predators (pterosaur, tyrannosaur, velociraptor) have their own unique effects. As previously mentioned, the pterosaur is the Hatch option, so first you get to expand a herd, then you get to gobble up part of your enemies. The tyrannosaur not only devours vast amounts of dinosaurs, but while it’s in your color, it counts as 3 of your own dinosaurs, so you can take over valuable habitants and score extra points. Of course the tyrannosaur is unreliable and might switch to another color at any moment. The velociraptors not only eat prey animals, but also frighten them into neighboring areas. You can even frighten your own dinosaurs, moving them from a useless spot to better pickings.

The seemingly-peaceful options let you "fall from heaven" onto a new, uninhabited environment (not sure what this represents), grow your existing herds in a massive population boom, or move herds from one environment to the next. Moving your herds also punks your foes, because a migrating group steals dinosaurs from their herds as well, "converting" them to your own color. These options are only "seemingly"-peaceful, though, because growing and moving herds is just as harsh on your enemies' point-scoring as openly devouring their critters.


Strategery and Winning ze Game
Every few turns there is a scoring round. At this point you gain points based on which habitats you control. Within each Area containing 3 Habitats, the biggest herd is always in the most valuable spot. (On a tie, whoever was there first keeps it.) So you are constantly trying to have a herd which is just big enough to capture the top spot, but not wasteful – so the extra dinosaurs can go into other spots and earn more money.

You have to balance using predator tiles to harvest your opponent’s herds, and boosting your own herds via the growth tiles . Well, maybe you don't really have to balance, but so far in our games, no one option has proven all-powerful. Plus you are impelled to choose less-than-perfect tile for three reasons. First, because the jerk to your right picked the "good" option before it was your turn. Second, because the tile which makes you first player (which is random) is imperfect, but hey, first player. Third, because one of the sucky tiles that everyone hates has a big pile of bonus points on it, so you feel impelled to grab it.


Interactivity?

The game is plenty dang interactive. Every move is made based on considerations of how it will hurt a foe, or help you vis-à-vis your foes. So if interaction is what you desired, instead of navel-gazing, this game has it.

Fun?
Well it has the huge plus of a dinosaur theme, and lots of eating enemy figures, and the giant volcano in the middle of the map. (No it doesn’t do anything. It’s just … there. Though you can play other, smaller, volcanoes during the game.)

Unlike many Euros, the theme actually is solid. The combination of spawning and migrating herds, and carnivores red in tooth and claw (and beak) plus volcanoes, and a turn structure labeled Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and so on and so forth means that this is NOT just a tacked-on theme. Which makes me a happier man.

It is pure Euro, though the neat plastic figures and artwork gives lip service to Ameritrash. Don’t be fooled. It’s just camouflage.
I personally view it as a worthy companion to Urland, Evo, and my all-too-few other paleontology-themed games.
43 
 Thumb up
1.26
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sylvester Stachovicz
Poland
Warsaw
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for review. I like your emotional approach as I find too diplomatic reviews boring - they try so much not to hurt anyone's feelings, they fail to show reviewer feelings as well. So kudos!

One question: do you find gameplay controlable on any level or is it pure tactical eye for an eye rumble?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Durst
United States
Tampa
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In my experience with the first few games I've played, it is played purely on a tactical level. There is no room for long-term strategic thinking since so many of the tiles have your opponents eating your dinos and screwing your plans. I would contend it's more of a diplomatic game whereby you convince everybody else to eat the dinos over there instead of yours.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean parmenter
msg tools
mbmb
Thanks for the great review. Having played many games of this now I will comment on the following:

[q=" Orphan tiles that no one wanted get tokens placed atop them, so they grow in value over time, just as in Vinci.

Plus you are impelled to choose less-than-perfect tile for three reasons. First, because the jerk to your right picked the "good" option before it was your turn. Second, because the tile which makes you first player (which is random) is imperfect, but hey, first player. Third, because one of the sucky tiles that everyone hates has a big pile of bonus points on it, so you feel impelled to grab it.
[/q]

I find all the 6 action tiles are extremely useful:
1. New Environment- essential to get Presence in 4 environments by 1st scoring and can give 3 new herds.
2. Herd growth- 5 new dinos to bolster 2 of your herds.
3. Hatch- get 3 new dinos and use the pterodactyl to kill 2 opponents
4. Raptors- each kill 2 and scatter a further 2
5. T-rex - kills 3-5 and gives your dino count a bump by 3
6. Migration- move 2 herds to up to 4 new areas each and steal up to 4 opponents dinos in the process. Important also for obtaining presence in 4 environments.

These are all very uesful actions and all equally important at various stages of the game and each can be used to implement a different strategy. I don't really find myself saying there are only bad choices left. This is said with the rider that you must choose carefully on Turn 1 of the game because there are not many dinos out if you choose early in the action sequence.

So I think the strength of this game is that all 6 action tiles are equally strong and you can devise differing strategies depending on which one you pick. The white dinos on the unused ones from the previous round are just there to tempt you.




3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean parmenter
msg tools
mbmb
Wario83 wrote:
In my experience with the first few games I've played, it is played purely on a tactical level. There is no room for long-term strategic thinking since so many of the tiles have your opponents eating your dinos and screwing your plans. I would contend it's more of a diplomatic game whereby you convince everybody else to eat the dinos over there instead of yours.


This is more true in 6 player games, where 5 others can screw with your well laid out plans. However, our group all know the game very well and we keep a very close eye on the 1st and 2nd player and target whoever fills these positions. Then it is a very tight game with all players being in the mix.

In 3 and 4 player games, it is not all tactical, since there is a long term strategy to build up numbers in each environment and perhaps not go after to many of the big habitats. With a gradual build up in total dino numbers over the 8-9 turns and hanging back within striking range of the leaders, you take any target off your back and are well poised to pick up the Dominance VP at game-end. I aim for Dominance in 2 environmants if possible and hopefully a second which totals 20 VP, usually enough for a win if achieved.

So don't underestimate the value of the 48 VP on offer for Dominance and you should do long term planning for this throughout the game. Take the Herd Growth tile as often as possible once you are established in all 4 environments.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sandy Petersen
United States
Rockwall
Texas
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
I wrote the first-ever Lovecraft game.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The game is a Euro. It has absolutely no randomness in the interactions except for what order the tiles are picked in.

I do appreciate and am pleased by the remark about my emotional reviews. I am an emotional guy. I play games for fun, not cold-blooded analysis, and I bet some other people do so as well.

It is fair to say that there are no "bad" choices but depending on where you are in the game, and what you need, not every choice is what you want every turn. Sometimes you REALLY want the Herd Migration and can't have it. Or (duh) the Tyrannosaur.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Danny Stevens
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
flag msg tools
Games: Design 'em, rewrite 'em, play 'em!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah Sandy I have always liked your passionate approach to games. One thing you missed out on though is the very, incredibly, mind bogglingly important choice of which colour dinosaur team you play with.

My companions in the last game chose green and blue while I went out on a limb and chose pink. That was my downfall. Pink dinosaurs are highly visible in every habitat on the board and just got munched on inordinately.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kim Fjeld
Norway
Oslo
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Danny from Tower wrote:
One thing you missed out on though is the very, incredibly, mind bogglingly important choice of which colour dinosaur team you play with.

My companions in the last game chose green and blue while I went out on a limb and chose pink. That was my downfall. Pink dinosaurs are highly visible in every habitat on the board and just got munched on inordinately.


I shy any of the red hues for this very reason. I preferably choose neutral tones, most preferably 18% gray whenever it's available.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.